County diary: where there’s muck, there’s copper


Sandy, Bedfordshire: The contents of a million privies were raked across the fields and with the human waste came illicit extras

Winter ploughing turns me into a mudlark of the fields, on the hunt for worthless objects of great value. The blades that buried 2020 have also unearthed human detritus of the ages, every mud-wrapped piece telling a story of loss or abandonment.

Nine months of daily litter picks have sharpened my eye to spotting the bright and not so beautiful down the lane. All along the verge are cans, bottles and wrappers, as well as the pandemic’s body intimate – the loops and cup of a face mask – tossed aside like a discarded bra.

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